The Rangers will try to keep their season alive not with Brad Richards and Arron Asham in the lineup, but with Micheal Haley and Kris Newbury. Not with an injured Anton Stralman on defense, but aging veteran Roman Hamrlik, who has not pl...
The Rangers will try to keep their season alive not with Brad Richards and Arron Asham in the lineup, but with Micheal Haley and Kris Newbury. Not with an injured Anton Stralman on defense, but aging veteran Roman Hamrlik, who has not played since April 1.
Hamrlik for Stralman aside - Hamrlik, to me, is a better choice than Matt Gilroy here with Marc Staal unavailable - I don’t see how this is a better lineup even given Richards’ struggles.
But maybe it’s not about the best lineup. Maybe it’s about a wake-up jolt to a Rangers’ team in danger of being on summer vacation in a few hours.
One other notable lineup change: rookie Chris Kreider has been elevated to C Derick Brassard’s second line with Rick Nash on the right.
“After the Game 3, everyone was down, everyone was pretty disappointed about the loss,” Brassard said. “We set our mind to make it 2-1 instead of 3-0. I know it looks hard to come back from 3-0. I think it’s possible. You take one game at a time. For us it’s do or die, an elimination game. Maybe, sometimes, when you’re thinking too much and gripping your stick and your back is against wall, sometimes you let yourself loose and maybe it’s a good thing for the team.”
Here’s some history: The Rangers have trailed a best-of-seven series 3-0 10 times in franchise history. Six times, the Rangers have been swept. Three times, the Rangers have lost the series in five games. The other time, in the first round of the 1939 playoffs against the Bruins, the Rangers forced Game 7 before losing in triple overtime.
The Rangers were last swept in the first round of the 2006 playoffs by the Devils. The last time they faced a 3-0 deficit was to the Penguins in 2008. The Rangers won Game 4 at home but lost the series in five.
“The mindset of anything coming to end is nowhere on anyone’s radar,” D John Moore said. “All we need to do is win one game and get it back to Boston.”
Keys to Game 4:
1. The small picture: The Rangers must do something only three teams in NHL history have accomplished by rallying from a 3-0 series deficit. So, while it’s totally clichéd, they really must only think of tonight’s game, even just starting with the first period, the first shift. Rallying from a 3-0 series deficit is a monumental task. Winning one game shouldn’t be.
2. Puck possession: Everything the Rangers want to accomplish stems from holding on to the puck and forcing the Bruins to play defense. It starts with winning faceoffs – the Rangers went just 21 of 55 (38 percent) in Game 3 – and continues by getting pucks in deep and then playing in the Bruins’ zone by establishing a forecheck.
3. The power play: Boy, this has become repetitive. The Rangers are now 2 for 38 on the power play in the postseason, without a goal in their last 21 attempts and 0 for 10 against the Bruins. The first trick is to keep the puck in the Bruins’ zone while on the man advantage. Then, don’t worry about being cute. Just shoot away and try to pound in a rebound. Ugly goals are just as good-looking as pretty ones
“I think it’s got something to do with the whole game,” RW Mats Zuccarello said when asked whether going and failing on the power play saps momentum from the Rangers. “We don’t get into the flow, we don’t get into the rhythm and it’s just the power play and some of our five on five too. But we’ve got to win one game. Now is not the time to think in negative thoughts and see what’s wrong.”
As for the lack of a consistent or effective forecheck in the series, D Ryan McDonagh said, ““You’ve got to give them some credit. They’ve got some big defensemen and they’re able to get back there and retrieve the puck. I thought at times we had the puck on our stick and maybe just got a little bit impatient. You see them, they’re pretty good at waiting for help, wai